New York, NY — August 27, 2014 — The Open Space Institute (OSI), a nationally recognized land conservation organization, has earned reaccreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. Accreditation renewal, which must be completed every five years, represents OSI’s ongoing commitment to land trust excellence and voluntary accreditation.
“Accreditation provides the public with the assurance that accredited land trusts meet high standards for quality and that the results of their conservation work are permanent,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn.
“This accreditation renewal recognizes that OSI has met a standard of excellence and affirms our role as a land conservation leader,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI and its affiliate, the Open Space Institute Land Trust. “Though challenging and intensive the accreditation process has ultimately strengthened OSI and better prepares us for future conservation projects.”
“The seal of accreditation is a way to prove to their communities that land trusts are worthy of the significant public and private investment in land conservation,” noted Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth. “Accreditation renewal is an affirmation that these organizations have made an ongoing commitment to excellence.”
The Open Space Institute (OSI) protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats and working lands and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, stewardship, conservation easements, regional loan programs, fiscal sponsorship, creative partnerships, and analytical research. OSI has protected more than 123,000 acres in New York State and though loans and grants assisted in the protection of an additional 2 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina.
Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form more than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means. Conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water, safe food, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat and places for people to connect with nature.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission, established in 2006, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country.
“The entire environmental conservation community is indebted to the work of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for its commitment to upholding the rigorous standards that govern land trusts,” said Elliman.
Each accredited and renewed land trust submits extensive documentation and undergoes a comprehensive review as part of the accreditation process. OSI is one of 280 land trusts in the country awarded accreditation since 2008.